The UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts continued their preparations for this summer`s final tournament with a narrow victory in Israel, according to

UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts Ukraine continued their preparations for this summer`s tournament with a narrow victory against Israel in Petach Tikva.

Goals from Oleh Gusev and Yevhen Konoplyanka gave the visitors a two-goal cushion at the break before substitute Tomer Hemed reduced the deficit from the penalty spot ten minutes into the second half. Andriy Yarmolenko`s close-range finish made it 3-1 just past the hour and although Ben Sahar pulled one back for the hosts, Ukraine held on to ensure Eli Gutman`s first game as Israel coach ended in defeat.

After a scrappy opening to the match, Rami Gershon conceded a penalty for a foul on Yarmolenko and Gusev made no mistake to give Ukraine a 17th-minute lead. Oleh Blokhin`s charges dominated possession in the first half and extended their lead just before the break when Konoplyanka capitalised on a mistake by Yuval Shpungin. On the stroke of half-time, visiting forward Andriy Voronin failed to make the most of Dedi Ben-Dayan`s error and round off Ukraine`s impressive first-half performance with a third goal.

Israel were much improved after the break and ten minutes into the second period Vitaly Mandziuk was penalised for handball in the penalty area allowing substitute Hemed to reduce the arrears. Ukraine regained their two-goal advantage just past the hour when Yarmolenko latched on to Olexandr Aliyev`s through ball and finished from close range. Sahar combined with Maor Melikson shortly afterwards to make it 3-2 but Ukraine held on.

Blokhin`s men kick off their UEFA EURO 2012 campaign in Kyiv on 11 June against Sweden before taking on France and England in Donetsk on 15 June and 19 June respectively.

by Boaz Goren,